Caledonia High School senior midfielder Kelsey Wade had her first goal of the season Thursday in a 4-2 victory against Itawamba Agricultural High. Photo by: Adam Minichino/Dispatch Staff Buy this photo.
January 10, 2017 10:35:00 AM
CALEDONIA -- Together is a buzzword for Kelsey Wade.
The Caledonia High School senior eschews individual accolades for team accomplishments. As one of three seniors on the school's girls soccer team, Wade knows it is crucial for her to set the right example for a young squad that hopes to earn a playoff berth coming out of Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 4A, Region 2.
Wade played a key role in making that happen last week, when she scored her first goal of the season in a 4-2 victory against Itawamba Agricultural High. The victory lifted Caledonia to 9-5 and 2-1 in the region with important region games against Louisville (tonight) and Amory (Friday).
While it was satisfying to get into the scoring column, Wade said she was prouder that the Lady Confederates played a "great" game and came together to earn an timely victory.
"I think it was really important," Wade said. "I think the game got us all feeling good and boosted our confidence. We know we can better as a team and continue to get better."
For her accomplishment, Wade is The Dispatch's Prep Player of the Week.
Lizzie Truelock, who had two goals and an assist against Itawamba Agricultural High, leads Caledonia with 11 goals. Jane Claire Newman added a goal and an assist for the Lady Confederates in the victory. Senior Caitlyn Sheppeard and Hallie Kate Brewer lead the team with five assists.
Wade feels she has worked well with Sheppeard, who moved from forward to center midfielder prior to the season. She hopes they can continue to provide vocal leadership and help lead by example with classmate Maggie Norton, a goalkeeper. She said she knew she had to take on bigger roles in both areas given the team's inexperience.
"I try to talk to them and get their confidence up and let them know we trust them and we know they're good," Wade said. "You just want to them feel comfortable playing with you so you feel y'all play better as a team.
"This year, we kind of have an understanding that when you correct one person you're doing it to help everyone. Our team has a really good relationship. We're all really close, so we know if you do correct someone you're doing it to help them and to make them better and not to criticize them."
Wade says she pays attention to the whole team to determine where she can help the most. She doesn't consider herself the best player on the team, so she said she strives to work hard all of the time and pick up on the details so she can help set the tone. That is even more important this season because of the team's youth. In fact, coach Jason Forrester's team has only three juniors and seniors in a starting lineup that typically features four middle schoolers.
Forrester said Wade also played well in a loss to New Albany. He said she has provided steady leadership all season, which hasn't been surprising because she has been a mainstay since she started playing as a middle schooler. Even then, Forrester recalled Wade being mature beyond her years. He said she is using that experience this season after she emerged as a leader last season and picked her spots when to say things.
"She listens really well all of the time," Forrester said. "Her example set the tone, and kids would watch that. She is a cheerleader, too, and she is involved in a lot of clubs, and kids see her balance all of that and she doesn't miss practice and she is always here."
Forrester said Wade's outgoing personality "pulls" others in and makes them listen to her. He said he didn't have to encourage Wade to be more vocal because she was mature enough to realize her role was going to change. He said it isn't surprising Wade was able to do that because he said she talked to him as a sixth-grader and told him she was going to wait another year to try out for the team because she didn't feel she was ready.
This season, Forrester said Wade has become an equalizing force as a outside midfielder and a vocal and lead-by-example senior as a co-captain with Sheppeard.
"They really bounce ideas off each other and talk about things and handle the team before (assistant coach) Armando (Saraiva) get out here and do things," Forrester said. "There are no problems we have, but if there was something, they would come and let me know and let me now they have handled it. You have to have some good leadership to do that, and they have been great. Kelsey has probably been one of the better leaders in that last few years in doing that."
Follow Dispatch sports editor Adam Minichino on Twitter @ctsportseditor
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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